Health support - children with disabilities and learning needs

Physical difficulties and sensory needs

Iinformation about how what specialist support and services are available for children who have physical difficulties and sensory needs.

Children's physiotherapy service

The children's physiotherapy service offer assessments, advice and therapy for children and young people with physical difficulties or disabilities.This can include support, instructions and consultations for parents and carers and others that may be involved with you or your child (such as teachers and other health professionals).

Therapy may include activity and exercise programmes, individual or group sessions, aquatic therapy (water therapy). They also offer help or advice to find the most appropriate specialist equipment/orthosis (splints) for your child.

Examples of when physiotherapy may be needed include delay in development, mobility problems, neuromuscular disorders, neurological conditions, balance and co-ordination difficulties, joint and muscle pain/problems.

Your child can be referred to the service by your doctor (GP), health visitor, paediatrician or teacher, and other health care professionals who might be seeing your child. You can also approach the service directly to discuss your concerns.

Occupational therapy service

The occupational therapy service offers assessment, advice, training and therapy to children and young people with physical difficulties. Your therapist will help your child develop skills for everyday life.They will work with you to identify your child’s strengths and weaknesses in order to help them develop skills for daily life.

Some areas that they may assess include - hand skills, dressing, handwriting, pencil skills, eating and drinking.Therapy may include activity programmes, individual sessions, assessment for equipment and upper limb orthosis (a splint that gives support to arms or hands).

The service does not accept direct referrals from parents or carers unless the child has been seen by the service in the last two years.Request for assessment will be considered from your doctor (GP), other healthcare professional, a teacher or a social care professional.

Wheelchair and special seating service

If your child uses a wheelchair, or if they have just been advised that they may need one, the wheelchair and special seating assessment service can help. The service will help you to ensure that you get the right kind of wheelchair for your needs, support you on an ongoing basis and be there to help when you need advice or repairs.

To use this service you’ll need a referral from your doctor (GP) or another health care professional such as a doctor, physiotherapist, occupational therapist or specialist nurse. If you think you would benefit from this service, please speak to one of these people first. If you are already known to the service, it is fine to contact them direct without the need for a new referral.

Need more help?

Contact the Information, Advice and Support Service for free, impartial information, advice and support for parents and carers of children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). Support is also offered to children and young people with SEND. They can also help provide information in a non-web format.